January bullet journal spreads: Chess + The Queen’s Gambit theme

Now that I’ve completed setting up my 2021 bullet journal, it’s time to set up my monthly spreads. Like many other people, I enjoy creating different themes each month to keep things fresh every month and as a way to have a creative outlet. Though I created this theme and spreads for January, you can easily apply this theme to any month!

I really enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, and after watching the show, I really want to create a chess theme inspired by the show. The show had a lot of fun with the set design, cinematography, and fashion! I’m a big fan of the 1960s beauty and fashion. I searched for inspiration on Pinterest and collected images to create a color palette, shapes, and fonts. I also went through a (very short-lived) chess phase in elementary school and was part of the chess club for a brief moment in time, so it was nice to have context of the game while watching the show! I definitely did not end up being a child chess prodigy. 😂

To see how to create easy monthly spreads step by step, watch my January Plan With Me setup to see easy, aesthetic and minimal spreads for beginners to get ideas to plan and track for the month! 

Here are inspiring bullet journal layout ideas that I’m using to set goals and to get organized for January.  I ended up keeping the same neutral tone and brown color palette from my yearly spreads because it matched the aesthetic and tones of The Queen’s Gambit. I also used some fun pastels as a nod to the vintage 60s aesthetic (like the hotels and wallpapers) shown in the show. My YouTube video has a list of supplies I used.


I knew the cover page had to have chess pieces! While I was browsing Pinterest, I came across an image of the outline of chess pieces. While that one was much more intricate and outlined different patterns inside it, I used the basic outline as my inspiration. I’m really proud with how the knight turned out since I pretty much free-handed the drawings and used the photo as my reference. I wanted to keep it minimal, so I just outlined it with a light brown fine liner. For the font, I tried to find a serif font that looked similar to The Queen’s Gambit font on promotional materials. I searched around Dafont until I came across one that I thought looked similar enough.

I didn’t want to create calendar since the one I created in the next spread was more intricate, so I stuck with the traditional monthly log. I also knew I wouldn’t have much to add since any kind of social life is non-existent right now. I kept it super simple and wrote down the days of the week corresponding with the day of the month and added some washi tape next to the word “Log”, to give it some decoration.


Many people create a calendar spread for their monthly spread or log. Since I knew I wouldn’t have much happening this year, I decided to use the calendar page as my blog’s editorial calendar. I can use it to visualize all of my deadlines and schedule upcoming blog posts, videos, and social media content. I decided to make it look like a chess board with alternating colors! The last column is a column to include other miscellaneous goals I want to accomplish that isn’t related to creating content.


I resisted habit trackers for so long because I felt like they were too time consuming to set up. 2020 changed that because I fond it hard to maintain my routines in light of the monotony of staying home. It helped me stay sane by seeing that I could accomplish some of the mundane things like making my bed and keep me on track. It’s also nice to look back at the end of the week to see how well I maintained a habit. The bottom half is dedicated to various to-do lists to keep track of chores I need to do, other blog maintenance stuff, things I need for my room makeover, and other things to purchase. Having a dot grid journal also makes this much easier to set up.

This spread was inspired from when Beth goes to the U.S. Open and there’s that large display board that displayed to the audience the moves players were making. I liked the vintage look of the sign, so I decided to use it as a way to “display” my trackers. It was also a way to include some color rfor this month since I mostly used the brown tones used in the show.


My weekly spreads are pretty simple so it won’t take too long to set up each week. I drew overlapping boxes in random sizes and then added brown drop shadows. I also included a motivational chess quote that I also found on Pinterest to make the spread a little more fun. I completed the look with some washi tape accents.

I used to have a “Favorites” spread each month, and even though I kept note of what things I was enjoying each month, I never actually put it down in the spreads. I might still include a page at the end of the month if I feel like there’s something to document!

I hope this jumpstarted you to put together your new (or first!) bullet journal to stay organized and keep track of things in 2021! You can also Pin this blog post for safekeeping. 🙂 Be sure to check out my other blog post for fun and easy ideas for bullet journal themes!

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